The Dallas CVB goes outside the gayborhood for a pre-Pride celebration
PARTY AT THE PARK
Victory Park, 2300 Victory Ave. Sept. 18. 7 p.m. Free. GLBTDallas.com.
Probably the knee-jerk reaction most people have when they think of celebrating Dallas Pride is to head over to Oak Lawn. It is, of course, the city’s most established gay neighborhood.
But the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau is hoping regular partakers might scoot over a bit outside Oak Lawn to nearby Victory Park.
"This gives us the opportunity to showcase to the citizens of Dallas we are a diverse city with a large vibrant LGBT community," says Phillip Jones, president of the Dallas CVB. The agency’s efforts to present a healthy Dallas gay community to the rest of the country, and even the world, continues this year with this second outing in Victory Park.
In turn, holding the event beyond the borders of Cedar Springs is meant to reintroduce Dallas Pride to its full resident base.
"It sets the tone to what the new Dallas is evolving into. There are people who haven’t been yet, and people who haven’t seen it will be overwhelmed and surprised," Jones says.
This "new Dallas" includes the expanding development in downtown and the new Arts District, which all contribute to making the city an appealing destination.
But Jones doesn’t want it to just come off as a marketing tool. The CVB has the job of selling the city to travelers but Jones understands what their Pride event can mean for the community.
"I hope it reinforces to people here that the city of Dallas embraces its LGBT community," he says.
The CVB expects all Pride celebrations in Dallas will draw up to 40,000 people. Party at the Park gets things rolling a bit early in the weekend featuring DJ Jeff Mitchell helming the music. With those kinds of numbers and in such a hot spot, Jones figures why not showcase and promote Dallas in a fabulous rainbow-colored light.
"In Dallas, you can now live anywhere in the city and feel comfortable and welcome. It continues to grow in size and importance. We’re celebrating that with a big bash," he says.
That growth allows for the option of the party traveling each year. Jones envisions changing the location of the party as the city grows — for example, moving it to the Arts District. He wants the gay community to have a recognizable spot in Dallas and for it to be part of the city’s attraction.
"It’s important to send the message that Dallas’ LGBT cÂommunity is growing and that the city is evolving and the CVB definitely recognizes diversity," he says.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition September 11, 2009.